[this analysis was written for the Unz Review]
When Zelenskii came to power, there were two fundamental options he could have chosen. These options were, roughly:
Option one or pragmatism above ideology: to make a determined effort to address Ukraine’s most urgent problems. At the very least, Zelenskii could have ordered his forces to stop firing and have them withdraw to a safe distance (Zelenskii had the full authority to do so, as soon as he was inaugurated and he did not need anybody’s help to do so). Obviously, such a move would have to be coordinated with the LDNR forces. And that, in turn, means that at the very least, Zelenskii should have opened a channel of direct communications with the two republics. This option could be described as “beginning to implement at least the very first steps of the Minsk Agreements.”
Option two ideology above pragmatism: to make a determined effort not to address Ukraine’s most urgent problems. The priority here is to declare that the Ukraine will not honor the Minsk Agreements: no talks with the LDNR, no ceasefire, no withdrawal of forces, no amnesty and, most definitely, no discussions about any kind of special status for the Donbass. This option could be described as “more of the same” or “Poroshenko reloaded.”
Prince Otto von Bismarck once famously said that “politics is the art of the possible” and I think that this is an excellent rule to keep in mind when trying to figure out what is going on and what might happen next. There is a lot of hyperbolic rhetoric out there, but no matter how delusional Ukie politicians can be, the reality remains something objective, and that objective reality is what will shape the future, not the empty ideological nonsense spewed by politicians (whether Ukrainian ones or AngloZionists).
As of right now, the overwhelming majority of experts have agreed that Zelenskii is not going for Option #1. This strongly suggests that the Ukraine is going for Option #2. But, as I have indicated above, Zelenskii’s Option #2 is nothing more than, well, “more of the same.” And this makes sense, especially if we consider that:
1) the same causes produce the same outcomes (after all “insanity is repeating the same thing over and over expecting a different result) and
2) the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior
So what really happened? Why is Zelenskii apparently dead set on repeating all the same mistakes Poroshenko made?
As I have indicated in a recent article, the Ukraine is not a democracy but an oligarchy: ever since 1991 the most prosperous Soviet republic was mercilessly plundered by an entire class (in the Marxist sense of the word) of oligarchs whose biggest fear has always been that the same “horror” (from their point of view) which befell Russia with Putin, would eventually arrive at the Ukraine.
Here we need to make something clear: this is NOT, repeat, NOT about nationality or nationalism. The Ukrainian oligarchs are just like any other oligarchs: their loyalty is to their money and nothing else. If you want to characterize these oligarchs, you could think of them as culturally “post-Soviet” meaning that they don’t care about nationality, and even though their prime language is Russian, they don’t give a damn about Russia or Russians (or anybody else, for that matter!). Since many of them are Jews, they have a network of supporters/accomplices in Israel of course, but also in the West and even in Russia. In truth, these guys are the ultimate “internationalists” in their own, toxic, kind of way.
The other significant force in the Ukraine is the West Ukrainian (Galician) Nazi death-squads and mobs. Their power is not a democracy either, but an ochlocracy. These guys are a minority, a pretty small one even, but they have enough muscle and even firepower to threaten any nominal Ukrainian leader. Furthermore, these folks have profoundly infiltrated all the police and security forces which, in theory, would have been able to control or disarm them (the SBU, especially, is chock full of Urkonazi thugs).
Now let’s begin by looking at the oligarchs: their number 1 priority is to continue to plunder the Ukraine. For that, you need the opposite of “law and order”: you need lawlessness, chaos, violence and, most importantly, you need the tiny figleaf of “the Moskal aggression” to hide behind. In other words, while these oligarchs probably do not want an open a full-scale war with the LDNR (or, even less with Russia herself), they simply cannot allow peace to break-out.
The Ukronazis don’t want peace to break out either, lest their influence and power shrink back to something roughly proportional to their share of the population of the Ukraine. Besides, since their entire ideology and worldview is all about hating Russia and being anti-Russia, any peace with Russia is literally unthinkable for them. They and their Polish supporters want Russia to break apart in numerous small state-lets which they (or, in their delusional dreams, the Chinese) could dominate. These folks will always perceive Russia as an existential threat. In their own way, they are absolutely right: Russia will always remain the reality check on their delusions. This was as true in the distant 13th century as it is nowadays.
Finally, let’s keep in mind that neither the oligarchs nor the Ukronazis genuinely want the people of Crimea and the Donbass to be part of “their” Ukraine since the overwhelming majority of these people would categorically oppose both the oligarchs and the Ukronazis. Yes, for prestige and ideological reasons, all these Galician Nazis will always declare that “Crimea is forever Ukrainian” and “we shall reconquer the Donbass,” but what they are genuinely fantasizing about is the territory, and only the territory. As for the 2 million-plus virulently anti-Nazi people currently living on these lands, they simply want them either dead or expelled).
So, while about 70% or so of the people of the Ukraine want peace to return and the horrors of the civil war to finally stop, the only two groups who have real power want the civil war in the East to continue. There are even quite a few Zelenskii nominees who have declared that war with the LDNR is the only way to solve the crisis. Some even want war with Russia!
Reality, however, is a pesky thing and, as the expression goes, if your head is in the sand, your butt is in the air and the collective Ukronazi “butt” has been exposed in the air for several years now. This is also true for the supposed “reforms” of the Ukronazi forces.
Quite a few signs are indicating that most of the so-called “reforms” and “reorganization” of the Ukronazi forces were more about corruption (what else!?) and window dressing than anything else. Galicians are generally famous as world-class torturers and executioners of civilians, but not really military commanders (this is why Ukronazi “historians” are now desperately parsing every year in the history of what is called the Ukraine today to find some kind of “Ukrainian” victory; all they came up with so far are very small, completely irrelevant, local battles). In contrast, the LDNR forces seem to be doing pretty well, and their morale appears to be as strong as ever (which is unsurprising since their military ethos is based in 1000 years of Russian military history). Last, but certainly not least, there is Putin’s rather striking warning during the Olympics when he declared that any Ukronazi attack would have, quote, “very serious consequences for Ukrainian statehood.”
This warning was apparently heeded both in Kiev and in Washington, DC.
The mood of the Russian public opinion seems to be one of total disgust and frustrated anger. It’s not like Zelenskii was ever very popular in Russia, but at least he was no Nazi, and he seemed to be willing to take at least the very first steps towards finally stopping the insanity. That hope is now totally shattered (the Russian media reports all the anti-Russian statements of the various Zelenskii nominees daily).
While the Kremlin more often than not sticks to its traditional diplomatic language, most Russian experts appear to be fed-up with Zelenskii and his antics and are now all pushing for some kind of hardening of the Russian stance towards this 5-year long Banderastan. And the Kremlin has paid attention: Russia is now handing out passports to pretty much any Ukrainian wanting to get one. This is the first step in a time-tested sequence, the next one which would be the recognition of the LDNR as sovereign states (as was done in Abkhazia and South Ossetia).
Many wonder what in the world Putin is waiting for and why Russia has not officially recognized these republics yet?
The reasons for this are as simple as they are compelling:
First, any premature recognition would further fuel the western fairy-tale about “Russia” having “invaded” the Ukraine to grab land. If the AngloZionists did not shy away from making such claims while Russian forces were still in their barracks, you could imagine the hysterical shrieks we would have heard from the “collective West” if Russia indeed had decided to move her forces into the Donbass to stop the Ukronazi aggression!
Second, to the degree that the Empire created an “anti-Russia” with its Ukronazi Banderastan, Russia created an “anti-Banderastan” with the LDNR. This is very important and must never be overlooked: yes, Nazi-occupied Ukraine is a never healing wound in the side of Russia, but Novorussia also is a never healing wound in the side of Nazi-occupied Ukraine. The big difference is that Russia is strong enough to cope with her wound, whereas the Ukronazi Banderastan never had a chance and has already collapsed beyond any hope of survival.
Third, Russia simply cannot afford to pay by herself the immense bill for the eventual reconstruction of devastated Ukraine. Just fixing Crimea is already an enormous and extremely costly task for Russia, especially after decades of Ukie neglect, but at least down the road, it is obvious that Crimea is headed for prosperity and that the returns on investment will be huge. But single-handedly rebuilding the entire Donbass is probably beyond the Russian means. Currently, Russia is already providing vast amounts of aid to the Novorussians, and she is basically maxed out.
Finally, let’s remember here that the UNSC approved the Minsk Agreements and that, as such, they are not an elective: the Minsk Agreements are obligatory under international law. And here is the beauty: Russia is not a part of the Minsk Agreements, only the Ukraine and the LDNR are. Thus while the AngloZionists mantrically repeat that “Russia must be sanctioned for not abiding by the Minsk Agreements” or “Russia must do more” – they all do secretly realize that this is empty, hot, air. Besides, even the duller western leaders now are beginning to realize which side truly does not want to abide by these agreements.
These agreements are even less popular in Novorussia than they are in Kiev: it is an open secret that the Novorussians will never agree to be ruled from Kiev again. Ever. And, sooner or later, they will join Russia in some shape or form. But that is in the future. For the time being, the Novorussians are smart enough to realize that they should go along and let the Ukronazi idiots openly sabotage these agreements. And since Zelenskii and his nominees are now declaring that they will never negotiate with the LDNR (which the Minsk Agreements require), it is not Russia or the LDNR which destroyed these agreements, but the Ukrainian government, quite officially so.
One striking development since the election of Zelenskii is the number of Ukrainian political figures which have openly declared that the Ukraine should simply militarily re-capture the Donbass (some even suggested Crimea). It is thus probably a good idea to revisit the military options on all sides.
Let’s begin with the Ukronazi dream: this is pretty straightforward, and plenty of Ukrainian officials have mentioned the “Croatian option” which refers to the surprise attack of the Croats (fully backed by NATO) against the Serbian UN Protection Areas in Croatia (see “Operation Storm” on Wikipedia). The model is simple: pretend to negotiate in good faith, get (sympathetic) peacekeepers to disarm all the locals, then attack them with everything you’ve got. If the LDNR were all alone, cut off from Russia, there could be a theoretical (if somewhat unlikely) chance of success of such an attack. But we need to remember here that the Krajina-Serbs (and the Bosnian-Serbs too) were betrayed by Slobodan Milosevic who did nothing to protect them. In fact, Serbia even slammed sanctions against the Republika Srpska. Finally, NATO had complete and total air supremacy.
The case of the LDNR could not be more different because far from betraying the Donbass or imposing sanctions as Milosevic did, Putin gave the LDNR the full support of Russia. If the Ukrainians do attack, Russia will have a very wide array of options to chose from including:
- Sending in more humanitarian aid
- Sending in more military equipment (the “Voentorg”)
- Sending in more volunteers (the “northern wind”), especially highly trained professionals
- Sharing intelligence and reconnaissance data with the LDNR forces
- Deploying forward air controllers (FACs) in special forces teams to coordinate artillery strikes on Ukronazi targets from across the border
- Shooting down Ukrainian missiles and aircraft (including UAVs)
- Engaging Russian electronic warfare units to disrupt Ukie signals (radars, including counter-battery, GNSS signals, audio, and video communications, data links, etc.)
So far, this is what Russia has already done in the past (options #5-6-7 only in a few specific instances).
Now what people usually see as the next escalatory option for Russia would be to send ground forces into Novorussia to directly engage the attacking Ukronazi forces.
In truth, Russia has plenty of other options before a ground operation. For example, one further Russian option could include:
- Officially declaring a “humanitarian no-fly zone” à la Libya, in which “all means necessary” will be used to stop the aggression and then immediately send in Russian fixed-wing and rotary-wing close air support & strike aircraft (under cover of interceptors and multi-role fighters, of course) and even bombers to destroy advancing Ukie units.
Russia could very easily declare a no-fly zone over the Donbass without moving a single air defense unit across the border: Russian long-range air defenses are more than enough to “lock” that entire airspace, especially if combined with AWACS and interceptors (with long-range missiles).
Still, these steps, while very visible, would still be limited to the Donbass area of operations. But Russia could take this one step further and strike very specific targets in the rest of the Ukraine. Specifically,
- Russia could sink the entire (tiny) Ukrainian “fleet” in port or on the high seas. That would not be militarily significant, but politically it would send the correct message.
- Russia could decide to also destroy the Ukrainian air force by destroying the main Ukrainian airfields. Russia could very easily do this with long-range cruise missiles. Once enough runways, ATC towers, radars, fuel and oil storage facilities, etc. are destroyed, the Ukrainian airforce as such would cease to exist (even if individual aircraft could be hidden and survive the Russian strikes).
- Next, Russia could get serious with the Ukrainian ground forces and begin striking key command posts, communication nodes, fuel and ammo dumps, bridges, etc. The goal here would not be to kill as many Ukrainian servicemen as possible, but to hit in the right places to make it impossible for the Ukrainian military to engage in coordinated offensive operations.
- Finally, Russia could decide to open the hunting season on key officials and begin executing some of the most odious Nazi officials (just to scare the rest). Again, cruise missiles are probably the most obvious option here, but other options can be very successfully used including the “Dudaev trick” (an antiradiation missile aimed at a Satphone signal) or even go “full NATO” and begin hitting politically symbolic buildings.
I mention these last four options because these are doable, but they are also total overkill.
The truth is that should Russia ever truly intervene, most Ukrainian servicemen will run or surrender (they did not vote Zelenskii for the privilegeto die for a sick, Nazi, ideology and worldview). Again, past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior and the case of the Crimea has shown that once the (relatively small!!) Russian forces intervened, nobody had the courage (or the motivation) to resist.
[Sidebar: the popular joke about this goes like this: ask a Ukrainian nationalist why the Ukrainians are fighting in the Donbass, and the obligatory politically correct answer is “because the Russians are there!”; and if you then ask him why the Ukraine is not fighting in Crimea, he will reply “because the Russians are really there!“. This is very true. The Urkonazis have tried to engage in low-level forms of terrorism (planting bombs, mostly), but with very little success. As for really attacking Crimea (probably one of the best-defended locations on the planet by now!) – that would be a suicide mission for an entire US Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), never-mind the derelict Ukie military!]
Furthermore, for the Russians, they have been intensively preparing for a major war against NATO for at least five years now (for details, see here) and they are quite ready to take on the united West (that is what Guards Tank Armies are designed to do), so for them to take on the decrepit, corrupt, demoralized, disorganized and generally “mangy” Ukronazi forces would not even represent a significant effort. Every halfway competent military analyst out there knows that. Even the Ukronazi ones.
What this all means for the Zelenskii administration is simple: if you try the “Croatian scenario” you will end up not with a “Croatian outcome” but a “Georgia 08.08.08 outcome”: obliteration of your armed forces in 48 hours, followed by the net loss of 20% of your national territory (probably more in the case of the Ukraine!).
[Sidebar: for many years now I have been explaining that the real goal of any Ukronazi attack on Novorussia would not be to really win, but to force Russia to openly intervene. However, this strategy has failed while the balance of forces, including in political terms, has changed. It is one thing to start a war with the LDNR only to force Russia to intervene, and quite another to expose your entire country to “very serious consequences” for its entire “statehood.” Putin’s (truly quite extraordinary) threat has explicitly raised the bar of the potential Russian retaliation much higher than it was before.]
So is there anything even vaguely resembling *any* kind of solution in sight?
Well, in theory, there would have been the Minsk Agreement solution. The Novorussians would not like it, but Russia could probably impose it upon them. Russia herself sure could live with such an outcome (no, Russia has absolutely no need of any additional territories, especially devastated ones!). But since the Ukronazis are too ideological and delusional to ever accept that option, then there is an obvious Plan B: Russia unilaterally recognizes the LDNR Republics who then vote to join the Russian Federation. In theory, the rest of the Ukraine could realize that there are advantages to this situation, including getting rid of 2 million anti-Nazis. But their ideology (really a local uniquely Galician brand of ultra-nationalism – similar only to the WWII Ustashe regime in Croatia – imposed upon the entire country) makes it absolutely impossible for these rabid nationalists to accept such a loss of territory, particularly in a humiliating civil war against their own people (or so they claim). Simply put, you cannot claim to be the descended of the 200’000 year old “Ancient Ukrs” who built the pyramids, who dug the Black Sea, who gave birth to the Aryan civilization and whose language is the basis of Sanskrit and, at the same time, admit that a big chunk of your own population prefers death to life under your rule. In reality, not only are these folks not willing to accept any loss of territory (whether de jure or de facto), some of them are even claiming territories inside the Russian Federation.
Thankfully, their delusions really make no difference: Novorussia and Crimea are gone, forever, no matter what anybody says.
Frankly, I believe that even without Crimea and even without Novorussia current Nazi-occupied Ukraine is still not viable, if only because the southern regions (Odessa, Nikolaev, Mariupol) will never agree to become Nazi-occupied protectorates of the very same Galician Urkonazis who have already burned people alive in Odessa. The truth is that the Galicians would be much better off severing their (entirely artificial) ties to what is known as “the Ukraine” nowadays and fallback to their true historical lands. Ideology, however, will never allow most of them to see that. The process of disintegration of the rump-Ukraine will probably continue in one form or another.
Conclusion: how one slogan can lead to a very different one
The entire Ukronazi worldview can be summarized in their well-known slogan: “to drown all the Kikes and Polaks in Moskal blood” (or some variations thereof). The problem with this slogan is that there is simply no way the (relatively small) Galician population can ever succeed in permanently defeating their much bigger (and, frankly, much smarter) Jewish, Polish or Russian neighbors. Thus time and again, the policies which begin with this famous Ukie slogan inevitably result in a rather painful variation on another very famous Ukie slogan: “suitcase, railway station, Russia” but, crucially, in a fundamentally different combination: “suitcase, railway station, and back to Canada/Israel!” ;-)
I personally don’t care what happens to these folks or to the lands which they historically inhabited. If the Austrians, the Poles, the Hungarians or the Germans want them – they are welcome to have them. After all, these are the folks who, along with the Papacy, created the Ukraine and the Ukronazi phenomenon. So, bien du plaisir!, as the French say: let them enjoy their offspring!
If the people of some future rump-Ukraine are strong and wise enough to get rid of that Nazi rot – good for them, they can count on Russian help and support for reconstruction. But if they are not – then that’s their problem.
When humans go out of their way to ignore reality, they deserve whatever comes their way.